Leading by example, China’s largest publisher invests in a zero-inventory future

Kodak recently hosted an Open House in Nanjing, China at the facilities of our long-time customer, Phoenix Publishing & Media Group. If you’ve never been to Nanjing, it’s an impressive place. With over 8 million people, it is the second largest commercial center in East China. The city has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China for several periods. Since the Three Kingdoms period, it has been a leader in textiles, shipbuilding and printing.

Kodak’s William Mansfield share his insights  on how printers are profitably operating print-on-demand business models, where the business of printing books represents more than a US$35 billion opportunity, with China representing 12% of the global market.

Kodak’s William Mansfield share his insights on how printers are profitably operating print-on-demand business models, where the business of printing books represents more than a US$35 billion opportunity, with China representing 12% of the global market.

Today, Phoenix carries on the proud tradition of centuries of printing innovation in Nanjing. Established in 1991, Phoenix has become one of the most prominent publishing conglomerates in China. A position it has attained by keeping one foot in the future. Over the past several years, Phoenix has been investing in its future by creating the capability to become a leader in the Print-on-Demand (POD) publishing market. The integration of Kodak’s PROSPER 1000 System in 2011 was the first step the company took to grow its short-run book printing operations. Recently, Phoenix purchased Kodak’s new PROSPER 6000 as part of its continued investment to become a “zero-inventory” publisher. With over 40 major publishers on its POD platform and the capability to produce over 20,000 books a day, Phoenix can whisk a range of titles to buyers within 2-3 days.

For the 100 participants who attended the Open House, the opportunity to hear directly from Phoenix, Kodak experts and partners like Hunkeler, MBO and JMD was invaluable. Investing in a new business model like POD requires more than a digital printing device. What the Phoenix example successfully demonstrates is that printers embarking on POD need to consider the entire print operations ecosystem. An efficient digital workflow to receive, preflight and schedule the print runs – which can be as low as a single copy – with little-to-no human intervention. And once the POD job is printed, a flexible, reliable and automated finishing line is needed to handle all of the sizes intended for POD production.

As more publishers consider the opportunity to transition from print for inventory to print for demand the benefits are compelling. Reducing inventory can lower waste, obsolescence and overhead costs. And by eliminating out-of-stock situations, publishers can increase sales and improve customer satisfaction by creating a virtual warehouse of titles allowing them to say yes to every order, no matter how big or small.